Five Email Etiquette Tips to Live By


The 21st century workforce lives, breathes and sleeps email. The first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I look at before bed is email, and I’m sure I’m not the only one with this habit. That being said, it seems like some people still don’t have a grasp on basic email protocol.
Here are five email etiquette tips that ring true at our tech PR firm.

Reply all! (or don’t)

I can’t stress this one enough – if there are multiple people looped in on an email, please, please, please make sure you hit ‘reply all’ on all correspondence. If people get cut out of email chains, even if it’s unintentional, it can cause some major headaches. People will be left wondering what the status of a project is or who’s handling what and an important deadline could be missed. If someone took the time to add people to an email, please, hit reply all and keep ‘em on there! This is especially important in a PR agency where you have multiple people working on one client’s account. Everyone needs to be looped in and up-to-date so work isn’t duplicated or overlooked.
That being said, when you are replying all, make sure you’re aware of everyone who is on the email. Be careful not to reply all if you’re sharing information that’s private, sensitive or not meant for everyone to see. This can make for a very awkward situation and can definitely be detrimental to your professional relationships. Plus, it’s super awkward (annoying, hilarious, etc.) when you accidentally hit reply all to 33,000 people. Whatever the situation, make sure you’re making a conscious decision about who exactly you’re replying to.  

Err on the side of too professional

So, you just landed your first job out of college – congrats! Is it a hip, cool startup with an open floor plan where you can wear leggings everyday? Awesome! That doesn’t mean your email should reflect this laid-back vibe. Keep it professional. Don’t use abbreviations, write in full sentences, and keep the emojis and gifs to a minimum (save that for Google Hangouts with your closest co-workers). You never know who your email may get forwarded to, and you don’t want the CEO of the company/your client thinking you’re unprofessional, right?

Keep Your Conversation In The Same Chain

If you’re going back and forth in a conversation, please keep it in one email chain; there is no need to create a new email with a new subject in a new conversation. This can be really confusing – you have to go back and forth checking the previous email chains to see what has been said, what assets were sent to you, etc. Plus, when you start a new conversation, you run the risk of accidentally cutting someone out of the chain, resulting in even more confusion. Along those same lines, if you use Gmail and don’t have conversation view turned on, I suggest you drop everything and go do that right now.

Spell Check

Most, if not all, email platforms offer some type of spell check, but make sure you give your emails an extra read-through for any glaring errors. There’s some really easy to use, free tools out there, like Grammarly, for example, that make spell checking a breeze. One instance when this is especially important is with names. Often times, people’s names are actually in their email address. Yet, somehow this goes unnoticed and people still misspell the name. I can’t tell you how many times my poor coworker Brigid has been addressed “Bridget,” “Bridgette”, etc. It’s very impersonal and feels careless. You don’t want to offend anybody you’re emailing with, so pause for a hot second and make sure everything’s in order (literally).

Respond In A Timely Manner

See my introduction re: always being on email. Your co-workers, clients, family and friends all know you’re on your email 24/7, so not responding for 24+ hours isn’t acceptable in most situations. While you may not need to act on an email right away, at least acknowledge you received it and let the sender know it’s on your radar. A simple “received,” or “on it,” will help everyone rest assured that things aren’t slipping through the cracks or lingering in your spam folder.
Are we missing any email etiquette tips? Let us know on Twitter @BIGfishPR.

Happy emailing!


BIG fish PR is an unconventional agency that helps its clients redefine their industries.